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Poster: leftwinger57 Date: Sep 14, 2010 6:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: no set list truth or myth

Hi guys, may be you could help me sort this one out a little. In the days before the band wsa using any computers
and having a light show in back and a couple of follow spots I can believe that they went on impulse and what the vibe was at the given moment. But later when evrything was
computerized w/ varie ligths and who knows what else I just can't wrap around the idea that the lighting crew didn't know whats coming next. Agree any opinions on this .Keep in mind later on they were all digital w/ narey a tube in site.
site.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Sep 14, 2010 8:09am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

I don't think the lighting folks ( Candice , etc.) had a set list, the band itself almost never, had one, at most , it was a sort of quick verbal, general plan , from what little I have gathered .
But there is a general out line to a Dead show, and early on the lighting seemed , simple: When they would go into a jam , it got dark and blue, in a balled the light ing might be low with a light on the singer etc .
Later , it seemed thy had more specific routines for the various songs : lights going all jagged and crazy for the 'Other One' ( excitement ), doing the locomotive light pattern in the middle of 'Rider".( "wish I was a headlight ...").
I liked it when the lights were abstract , I didn't like the images they would sometimes use : A dancing "hippie chick" , during 'Good Lovin" , etc.
The further away from "rock music video" style the better .

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Poster: William Tell Date: Sep 14, 2010 12:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

DD and LW: there have been a number of threads about this (archivist Rob, please? Dig up and provide? Thank you for your help...), and my conclusion from everything everyone else dredged up was that as time wore on, there were in fact set lists...? I am mis-remembering this?

Certainly at various times, eg, early era, by defn there was a very "set" list of tunes for each show...think of how similar they are the six months prior to the Fillmore run in spring 69, whether because they literally wanted to get it "right" or whatever...

Anyway, it runs somewhat counter to the "free form" perception everyone has of the DEAD (ie, not us, the general public), but as I've learned more and more, much of that perception has been thrown out the window, IMHO. IE, the tales of the extreme effort devoted to getting the Eleven "right" (ie, practice makes perfect), complaints about Bob and PP not putting in enough practice time in fall 68, blah, blah, blah...

I am only taking it this direction because in the early 70s when defending the DEAD, I can "hear" myself saying things like "Live Dead is one long improvised jam...they did something different every night" blah, blah, blah.

Now, we all know that was DEFN not true...they worked hard at the Eleven all thru 68 and it became a relatively consistent song. The jamming you hear in it is anything BUT free form improvisation, etc.

Anyway, somebody will have to go find the old threads to see if anyone provided hard and fast evidence on your query, but my recollection was there were set lists by the 80s and 90s...but dunno personally.

This post was modified by William Tell on 2010-09-14 19:15:24

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Poster: Jim F Date: Sep 15, 2010 1:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Reminds me of the common folklore tale of the Dead playing 8 hour shows, doing one song for one or two hours, etc. We all know that never happened. They surely came closer to that than any other band ever did, though. Though I've heard Springsteen was known to go on for many hours.

Anyway I've always assumed there had to have been some awareness of if not a for sure setlist, like a list of things that were due up. It seems impossible to me that a band who was pretty hell bent on not repeating a song until a couple gigs later (in the later years, anyway) wouldn't keep track. I used to keep track of setlists for a local GD tribute who advertised that you wouldn't hear a repeat at their weekly Tuesday gig for one month. They would create a list the day of the show of some 30 or 40 songs that hadn't been played in a few weeks and were due in the rotation, then they'd go from there (though aside from the bigger festival gigs where they would make up lists beforehand, they really did go from song to song, rarely were transitions planned, the bass player was always "in charge" and would tell them what song to go into as they were nearing the end of a song). I could see the Dead doing something similar to that. I think of one of those Boston or Madison Square Garden runs in the 90's, only one or two repeats in like 10 shows, that sort of thing just doesn't happen without planning.

I also think of 10/30/77. Before the big second set jam, you can hear Phil talking about "ok so it's gonna be Playin>Other One>Drums" etc. And they seem to agree on a string of songs, though I can't remember if they play it exactly as they agreed. I guess I could pull the show up, I'm 99% certain it's before the Playin' on 10/30/77. That led me to believe that at least in 1977, things were somewhat organized yet still pretty loose. Loose enough to where they didn't go into the show having a set plan, but organized enough to where they didn't just make it up from song to song, there were planned sequences.

As for planned sequences, obviously 1968 and most of 1969 were all pretty much the same. It was pretty much a matter of opening with the Other One suite or the Dark Star suite, and if there was enough time left over, throw in the Alligator>Caution suite. Good examples of how they mixed it up are little runs like 2/21-22/69, 4/21-22-23/69, 4/4-5-6/69, etc. All the same songs, just played in different orders, with the occasional DTRag or Schoolgirl or something thrown in between the big suites. The April Avalon run is interesting for having the diversions like the "Elevenless" St. Stephen on the 5th, as well as the Cryptical>Eleven. Though once summer hit, for example the Fillmore run in June, you really start to see some of the similarity start to fade as the newer tunes and stuff show up and it doesn't get so predictable.

I pretty much agree with all of WT's comments on the 68/69 era. It wasn't so much free form as it was actually really rather structured with a pretty steady continuity among the setlists, with very similar jamming (I think of that old Rolling Stone, I think, article where Jerry talks about how they had built little passages into Dark Star that were played pretty much every night). It was just a matter of how the various suites were arranged, and how long they would go for. At a certain point the length of all of them usually averaged out around the same, but there were little exceptions, as in one night Dark Star would be 20 minutes, the next 25-30, and The Eleven might be 7 minutes, the next it would be 15. But all of them had similar thematic passages. For example the way Deadbase breaks down The Eleven with the "Transition Jam, Eleven Theme, Eleven Second Theme Jam," etc.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Sep 15, 2010 10:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

>> Reminds me of the common folklore tale of the Dead playing 8 hour shows, doing one song for one or two hours, etc. >>

I heard that, too, when I first got into the Dead. I bet everyone did. It always seemed to be something that had happened "just a little bit earlier" ... kind of like ghost stories or urban legends that always happened to somebody's friend, but not someone you actually knew. Ah, the mythic world of ancient days, before the internet!

Funny thing about the "no set list" myth. I've never read anything specific from the band (or McNally) about how they really handled the set lists. Lots of talk about jamming and letting the music play them and so on, but not the workaday details. I did read one interview, I think with Phil, in which he said that they decided sometime around '76 or so that they'd try actual set lists, and then somehow put Bob in charge of remembering it. Not surprisingly, he forgot, and they ended up standing around on stage, kind of befuddled, not knowing what to do next.

Of course, if they were used to completely winging it, they'd have just winged it then, right? So I have to assume that's because they normally did some kind of discussion beforehand. But the interview doesn't get into that.

I think the band liked perpetuating their own myth -- which, at the same time, was probably more or less true from their standpoint as musicians, eg, they did a lot of winging it within the songs and sometimes in terms of which song to do next, but also generally knew where they were going. It can be true to say "I never know what we're going to do on stage" and "at its best, the music plays the band" without having that mean "and there's no set list at all." But "no set list" makes the better mythic interpretation!

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Sep 14, 2010 3:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

There is definitely SOME free-form improvisation on Live/Dead. Sure the songs were not chosen on the spot, and within the songs many of themes and parts were clearly rehearsed to perfection, but obviously there are great portions of each song which are improvised. You can hear certain themes repeat in each of these tunes for the years preceding and following Live/Dead but the way they move in/out of these parts and the unique portions of each tune are improvised heavily, if not exactly free form. Most of these jams stay in key and there are no wildly changing tempos. Now those '72-'74 Dark Stars and PITBs are quite free form - widely varying in key, tone, and tempo.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Sep 14, 2010 3:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Oh yeah, I was overstating it...but still, having listened to so many Elevens, DDHNM, StSt, and even DS from 69, in the end, I was struck more by the similarity than the dis-similarity, if you follow...however, you're right: it defn becomes looser in 72, I'll grant.

How they'd sometimes add an existing "song" a few times, like UJB or CCS, and sometimes it would become part of a jam sequence, sometimes not, but it wasn't the equivalent of say, Feedback, which was relatively "themeless"...? Anyhow, it was largely my perception of "formless" that gave way; I'd been wrong to think it was utterly freeform is more what I was getting at...

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Poster: deadpolitics Date: Sep 14, 2010 5:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Indeed you are correct... the GD were not exactly free-form, but more like free-wheeling during this period. I do have to say that there were quite a few free form jams in their repertoire... VLB could be quite free... Dancin' from '67... the 9/3/67 show comes to mind...

I do agree though, that they were going for a certain form and perfecting it as they were leading up to Live/Dead.

The big jam tunes became increasingly free-form starting with DS in 1970, The Other One in 1971, and all of them were quite open from '72-'74.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Sep 14, 2010 1:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

As cleared up by PG , they did inform the lights folks what they were going to do , and thus had a set list of some kind .In I the earlier period, particular in the 68-69 period , I think is correct that they planed it out , there would be too many car wrecks otherwise , due to the nature of the material . When they move away from the "suites" in late 69, I think some of the earlier parts of the show are a bit loser , There are plenty of times someone suggests a song ( mostly with a few telltale notes) only to be vetoed , or they change their mind .
I would guess for the "> into >" sort of things that usually happen later in the show they had to plan it out . Now later, when things are a bigger production, maybe it became even more planed (?)
I wonder how and when this would happen? How long before the went out ? On stage , before the played ?
I must have missed these threads ( before my time ?)
I agree the Dead , especially in that period you are talking about, were much less "free form" than the perception .

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Poster: William Tell Date: Sep 14, 2010 3:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Ah, thanks PG & DD: that might be all I was recalling...that someone verified that at least by the end, there were setlists at least some of the time (and I suppose we'd all agree it makes sense given Jer and drug use, much less Bob's memory [har, well--at least as seen in the El Paso vid a month or two ago; if he "started to go" slowly, Hell, he might have needed a set list or someone to prompt him by 82!]).

But, DD, I do agree that many of the 71 shows have an air of "lets open with this...and then lets alternate the tunes between us" (I always thought they tried to keep from having to have one of them sing mult tunes in a row...ie, whether the list was set, they'd do a Jer #, a Bob tune, and a PP one if possible, and that makes good sense to me "voice wear wise", right?).

In any case, for 71, at Harding, after Jer regales us with "sound...speed...hall...radio" biz, at the end of the pre first song banter, you hear Phil saying "...what's it going be?..." and whether him, self affirming, or someone else, says "Truckin" as if they had talked about opening with it, BUT not decided. Then they start with Truckin, obvously.

That would suggest there was NOT a set list, right? Just a discussion prior, but left open...not sure.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Sep 14, 2010 5:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

"Bob's memory [har, well--at least as seen in the El Paso vid a month or two ago;"

Oh, come now, not fair ... something was obviously wrong that night, that wasn't "memory problems."

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Poster: William Tell Date: Sep 14, 2010 6:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Fair? What does fair have to do with it? Harumph.

OK, since you are reading so closely, I'll try to be nicer...but really, when do I get to be nasty if not at anonymous forum?

Rob and CLIFF have all the fun.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Sep 14, 2010 6:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

I'm not reading so closely I just seem to hone in instinctively on jabs at Bob :)

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Poster: William Tell Date: Sep 15, 2010 8:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Yur starting to remind me of my kid sister...can't say anything bad about the only man in her life for so many yrs. Well, okay--it wasn't that bad, but she defn had a huge crush on him in the late 70s in her mid-teens when she first started tagging along to shows...I suppose that was just the way it went, right? IE, if you were a young girl when first involved, he was the obvious choice...not that I am in ANY way implying your defence of Bob is motivated by infatuation on a physical level (not that there is anything wrong with that, as they say on Seinfeld).

She eventually grew out of it; even offered me her autographed pic of Bob when she turned 50...still defends the 80s though.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Sep 15, 2010 8:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Poor Bobby. Not only do the boys pick on him, but if a girl defends him, she gets accused of being a teeny-bopper howling in Beatle-ish passion at the sight of his short shorts. What is it with the guys and Bob, anyway? Izod envy?

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Poster: William Tell Date: Sep 15, 2010 10:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Well, actually, you got it the wrong way around...SHE was a teeny little bopper (15) and had a crush on him, and now thinks it was silly, but I don't hold it against her...she is my sister afterall.

No more than I had a huge crush on Linda Ronstadt when she weighed about one third of what she does now in 71,....again, not that there is anything wrong with girth alterations with time; I am a prime example of this phenomenon (like Bob, I won't bore you with lengthy explanations...).

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Sep 15, 2010 9:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

That's the $64,000 question here ... I was telling my hubby about the whole anti-Bob thing with the guys here and the more detailed I got, he too started sputtering and heatedly and pointlessly denouncing Bob, and he doesn't even particularly care about the Grateful Dead.

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Poster: unclejohn52 Date: Sep 15, 2010 10:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

BTW, I'm a big Bobby fan, love his guitar fills. Great songs - Sugar Mag, Estimated, WRS, Jack Straw, One More Sat Night, etc. etc.

Bobby and the Midnites... let's not go there.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Sep 15, 2010 1:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Bobby and the Midnites... LETS go there. As the band which featured Billy Cobham and Alphonso Johnson that toured with Brent was really damn good - better than a lot of Dead that followed in the next few years. I can't say anything for studio releases (what's new?), but that was a real fun band live. MUCH better than Ratdog.

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Poster: leftwinger57 Date: Sep 15, 2010 3:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

whether you liked Bobby and the Midnights is going again be a little matter of taste . I do know that Billy Cobham
is one of the best drummers in the world. That my friends
is not my bold statement but by other pro drummers. I thought when I saw them they were very tight polished
and had clear sense of direction. You can't say that for many Dead shows. Would I see them multiple times, no but that does not mean they didn't entertain me for that night.

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Poster: vapors Date: Sep 15, 2010 6:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

I saw Bobby and the Midnights several times. My favorite nights were the ones when they opened for Jerry’s band.

I have to edit this – no disrespect meant towards Billy Cobham, known him for a good long time. (Alphonso either.)

This post was modified by vapors on 2010-09-16 01:43:39

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Poster: William Tell Date: Sep 15, 2010 3:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Yeah, I was sorta surprised to read that comment...again, my little sister saw them a lot, with a couple of the guys from the DEAD cover band I've mentioned (ie, they knew their music if you will), and they loved them.

In fact, the bass player and my little sister ranked one Keystone show of theirs (B&MNs) as, respectively, "the best live show I ever attended!" which was esp telling for the bass player that saw lots of shows from 72 on, incl many famous 72 and 73 shows by the DEAD, etc. My little sister only ever went to DEAD shows and Bob band shows, so less variation for her...

I just never happened to make it...

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Sep 15, 2010 12:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Playing in the Band!

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Sep 15, 2010 9:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

LOL, "not that there's anything wrong with it" ...

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Poster: Purple Gel Date: Sep 14, 2010 12:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

A friend of mine worked on the lighting crew for the last 3 or 4 years and, at least at that time, the crew was informed about song sequences before hand. The band would inform them, for instance, what would be played pre-drums, and then when they came back, post-drums. Of course, the band was free to add or subtract songs as they wished, but the basic song list was usually followed. First sets were more fluid, seeing as they were often done one or 2 song at a time, or a regular 2 songs in a row.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Sep 14, 2010 1:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

It seems I am thinking the first sets . I knew the 2nd sets were planed, but not as much as they actually were . I assumed they would plan the sequence of the pre-drums segment , and while the drummers ere bashing away plan the second part . Looks like from they might have had a general idea for the whole set, and ever once in a while they go down a different road than the planed one .
I am surprised they would have to tell the lighting folks ,seems to me it would be pretty easy to adapt to what song they were playing , but what do I know (!)

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Poster: leftwinger57 Date: Sep 14, 2010 3:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Looks most of the replys seem to confirm what I thought
all along. You can't tell me that a night stadium gig
and the lights/ sound people are not going to know what was coming. Yes in the earlier days when there was noodling
to an intro then yes maybe, but like I said previously when eveything became digital it all changed. As for
picking it as they went you'd be late on cues and all your timing would be off.Things got very sophisticated at the end that it wouln't surprise at all.One last observation
I could of sworn I saw formal lists on at least the keys
set-up at the RFKstadium show vid.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Sep 14, 2010 1:38pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

PG, I hope I don't sound too pissy, I just got back from the dentist, had a crown prepared, and a filling that turned out to be, " well, we may HAVE to do a root canal ", ie the filling is close to the nerve ,the Novocain is wearing off , ...
Thanks for that info on the lighting , I would never have guessed .

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Poster: RBNW....new and improved! Date: Sep 14, 2010 2:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

try NOVACAINE anonymous !!!!

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Poster: leftwinger57 Date: Sep 14, 2010 3:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

sorry to carry on about this .
1. Sorry you needed root canals going to the dentist
is like torture.
2. I seriously doubt drugs had anything to do w/ the lists
high on the Persh your not either wanting to or for that matter be able to read anthing. This unfortunately I know about first hand.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Sep 14, 2010 3:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

I would like to blame that on my hurting teeth, but as many of you may have noticed that my spelling , etc., is 4th grade level, and I have trouble catching my mistakes , I apologize to those more diligent spellers and less sloppy typists .It is funny my spellcheck didn't catch it.
Hey ! Maybe if I spelled it right my teeth wouldn't hurt...

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Sep 15, 2010 10:37am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Ironically there are no spelling mistakes in your post. However, Micah's punctuation idiosyncracies must be contagious ...

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Sep 15, 2010 11:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

My punctuation and capitalization idiosyncrasies fall under the ", etc."...
When I last had a comp. class, The Dead had just added Terrapin to their playlist ...

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Sep 15, 2010 12:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

Also, you spelled idiosyncrasies right and I spelled it wrong.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Sep 15, 2010 1:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: no set list truth or myth

My good friend Uncle Spellcheck .